Sex Roles

, Volume 54, Issue 1–2, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? Reality Dating Television Programs, Attitudes Toward Sex, and Sexual Behaviors



Past research has revealed associations between television viewing and sexual attitudes and behaviors. We examined a burgeoning new television genre, reality dating programs (RDPs). Undergraduate students (ages 18–24) reported their overall television viewing, their RDP viewing, and their involvement with RDPs (watching in order to learn and watching in order to be entertained). They also completed measures of attitudes toward sex, dating, and relationships, and answered questions about sexual behavior. Most participants were occasional or frequent viewers of at least one RDP. Men reported using RDPs for learning more than did women; there was no gender difference in use of RDPs for entertainment. Total amount of RDP viewing was positively correlated, for both men and women, with adversarial sexual beliefs, endorsement of a sexual double standard, and the beliefs that men are sex-driven, that appearance is important in dating, and that dating is a game. In all cases, however, these relationships were partially or totally mediated through viewer involvement. Men and women who watched RDPs tended to be less sexually experienced; there were few other correlations with sexual behaviors.

Key Words

reality dating television programs viewer involvement attitudes toward sex sexual behaviors entertainment and learning motives 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSanta Cruz
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta Cruz

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